Falling stars to light up the night sky of the Philippines this month

falling stars
The Geminids meteor shower will be lighting the night sky this month

Wishes could come true this months, with a dazzling display of falling stars filling the night skies of the Philippines.

The celestial light show will appear to emanate from the constellation of Gemini until December 17, with peak activity on the night of December 14.

Details of the Geminids meteor shower was posted on the website of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pasaga).

If the conditions are favourable, with dark and cloudless skies, the falling stars are expected to peak at a rate of 40 per hour.

Pagasa says that the Gemini shower is different from other meteor showers as it does not originate from a comet but rather from an asteroid, the 3200 Phaethon.

This causes meteors from this particular shower to be “very rocky and gritty” and slightly easier to see, compared to other showers.

The falling stars were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers. Scientists have observed that the showers have been intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120-160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, which is usually between 2am and 3am.

Pagasa  said there will be stars that are big enough to be seen through a naked eye.

Facing the eastern horizon, the stars will originate from the Gemini constellation about 15 degrees above the horizon.

falling stars
The Winter Triangle

For more dedicated stargazers, Pagasa has also provided details of the appearance of the ‘Winter Triangle’. This equilateral triangle will be visible at about 30 degrees above the eastern horizon throughout this month.

The triangle is made up of Betelgeuse, a super giant red star that is part of the constellation Orion (the Mighty Hunter), Sirius, the brightest star in the sky of the constellation Canis Major (the Big Dog), and Procyon, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Minor (Little Dog).

As always, this month will see the winter solstice on December 22. This signals the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere, making Philippine nights slightly longer than the daytime.